Pet experts share how to help dogs with travel anxiety

With coronavirus restrictions easing across the UK, it seems like the perfect time for owners to take their dogs on day trips again.

But for some pets, traveling in a car for long periods of time can be stressful, so itch Veterinarian Zoe Costigan.

While they like the extra walks and new places they can discover at the destination, the trip can cause anxiety, which is not necessarily confirmed by motion sickness.

One owner told Team dogs that your Chihuahua salivates with fear at the sight of the car keys.

When their dogs are suffering like this, how can concerned owners help?

Here is everything you need to know.

Ho How do I know if my dog ​​is afraid of traveling?

Fear of travel is not the same as motion sickness, so dogs can suffer even if it is less obvious.

Some signs to look out for include:

  • Restlessness
  • Panting
  • Excessive saliva production
  • Lick your lips
  • choke

The Chihuahua owner who made contact Team dogs also reported that illness was not a symptom her dog suffered from.

Ms. Costigan said, “In short, this dog has anxiety and while not sick, anxiety and nausea are closely related.”

She added that travel anxiety is an issue that should be addressed early on in order to normalize car journeys.

Pet experts share how to help dogs with travel anxiety 1

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“Puppies should be exposed to cars at a young age to get them used to traveling. It’s unreasonable to bother with walking around with your pet for a lifetime, “she said.

Mrs. Costigan other tips This involved getting the dogs used to a stationary car before building up for short distances, and then extending the length of time further.

She also advised taking regular breaks so your dog can stretch their legs, take a toilet break, and take a break from eating and drinking.

What can I give my dog ​​for anxiety?

Medicines are available for short-term use

In addition to long-term training, owners with an upcoming vacation may be looking for short-term solutions to travel anxiety.

Mrs. Costigan said: ” If the dog owner wants to try something off the shelf, the best they could do would be to find a pet-specific calming product with anti-anxiety ingredients (likeItching calmly), but if these don’t work, the owner should seek advice from their veterinarian, who can prescribe something stronger. “

But she also stressed that long-term desensitization methods are key to getting dogs used to travel.

Behavioral expert Professor Daniel Mills echoed that advice and said, “The pheromone product Adaptable can be very useful for this […] There are also approved drugs that can help with motion sickness and drugs for anxiety.

“You need to be able to tell the two apart, however, as the first signs of nausea can look very much like anxiety.”

The dos and don’ts when you travel with your dog in the car

Contact TeamDogs for further advice

A study by Professor Mills and M. Gandia Estellés gives the following advice to manage your dog’s behavior when traveling in the car:

  • For your safety when driving, your dog should be buckled up. There are several types of restraint methods on the market today, such as: Carrying aids or leashes and comfortable harnesses which are attached to the seat belts. All of them allow the dog to sit or lie down and also prevent your dog from moving in the vehicle.

  • For some dogs, restricting their view by holding back below window level (to obstruct the view of traffic lights, people, dogs, or simply the blurring of passing objects) can reduce excitement.

  • You should take the dog to different places so that the car journey is unpredictable.

  • Do not punish your dog for playing, this will likely only make matters worse and add to the stress.

  • If your dog is agitated or anxious, do not try to calm him down as this will reward this behavior.

  • Ignore anxious or exuberant behaviors that occur for no good reason.

  • Reward the appropriate behavior in the car with treats or praise.

  • Medication can be useful in some cases, but should only be used under veterinary supervision.

If you have any concerns about your dog and could use advice from a veterinarian or behavioral therapist, email [email protected] and we will do our best to help.

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